FOIA Request Seeks Information About the Secretive Expansion of Immigration Courts

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) seeking information relating to the expansion and creation of new immigration courts. The FOIA request was filed along with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and the AILA Chicago Chapter.

In addition to seeking to confirm what immigration courts presently exist, the request also seeks records relating to “immigration adjudication centers” which constitute a new type of immigration court. At present, there is little public information available about these centers, which appear to be set up to accelerate removal proceedings at the expense of due process. Attorneys and immigrants facing deportation have little instruction on the procedures for appearing before these centers and judges hearing these cases can sit anywhere in the country due to the reliance on video-teleconferencing to conduct hearings.

Given the lack of transparency around the creation and function of these new courts, the Council and partners have invoked the FOIA to press for information about the purposes, procedures and locations of these “adjudication centers.”

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